Shadowhunter's Codex (Page 2)

Shadowhunter’s Codex(2)
Author: Cassandra Clare


The Clave is the collective name for the political body made up of all active Nephilim. All Shadowhunters that recognize the authority of Idris—and this should be all of them in the world who remain Shadowhunters—make up the Clave. When Shadowhunters reach adulthood at the age of eighteen, they declare their allegiance to the Clave and become full Clave members, with rights to contribute to any Clave issue under discussion. The Clave keeps and interprets the Law, and makes decisions about the guidance of the Nephilim through history as it unfolds.

What if you don’t declare allegiance?

That’s called “leaving the Shadowhunters.” It’ll be covered later.

Smaller, more regional groups of Shadowhunters, for instance the Shadowhunters of a specific country or sometimes of a particularly large city, are collected in what are called Enclaves in most of the world, and Conclaves in the Americas and Australia. These regional groups coordinate their own local decision making and organizational structures as they see fit, although the Clave as a whole is responsible for placing Shadowhunters in charge of specific Institutes. The Clave may intercede in cases where an Enclave or Conclave is organized in some way that is against the spirit of the Nephilim as a whole (for instance, in cases where some individual Shadowhunter has tried to seize dictatorial power over nearby Downworlders, as with the infamous cult of personality and human sacrifice declared by Hezekiah Short in the Mayan ruins of southeastern Mexico in the 1930s).

The term “Clave” comes from the Latin clavis, meaning “key,” and its use in such terms as “Enclave” and “Conclave” refers abstractly to the idea of an assembly “under lock and key”—that is, meeting in secret. The Clave is, so to speak, the great secret of the Nephilim; with the key of the Mortal Cup, one earns entrance to its chambers.

The Council is the governing body of the Clave. Once, there were few enough Shadowhunters in the world that in matters of importance the entire Clave could be canvassed for their opinion, but it has been many hundreds of years since this was the case. The Council does, however, in representing the larger Clave, retain the power to recall any Shadowhunter to Idris at any time. Today local Enclaves choose representatives to sit on the Council, which deals with matters of immediate import that are not large enough for the entire Clave to become involved in. Enclaves may decide for themselves how to appoint their Council representatives. Most times this is accomplished with a simple vote or by the Conclave head appointing a chosen delegate; sometimes the Conclave head sits on the Council herself. Some regions have more colorful means of appointing their representative. For instance, in eighteenth-century France under the Sun King, the Council delegate was appointed by means of a dance competition. The Saint Petersburg Enclave to this day holds a massive annual chess tournament; the competitor who loses the most matches is named the Council delegate.

The Consul is the highest appointed official in the Clave. He is something like a prime minister rather than like a king or president; he wields little executive power but rather serves to preside over the Council, to officially tally its votes, and to help interpret the Law for the Clave. He also serves as an adviser to the Inquisitor, and is intended to be a consulting mentor for the heads of Institutes. His only real source of direct power is his authority to call the Council to session and to adjudicate disputes between Shadowhunters. The Nephilim do not have such uncivilized mundane notions as political parties; the Consul is voted into office by the Council and, like most prime ministers, can be put out of office by a vote of no confidence.

Tying all of these entities together is the Covenant, another name for Nephilim Law. It provides the rules of conduct for Shadowhunters and Downworlders; it is by the right of Covenant that the Nephilim enforce their Law in Downworld. (There have been times and places where that rule of Law has been held in place by force rather than by Covenant, but we happily live in more enlightened times today.) The Covenant protects the rights of Shadowhunters to enforce civilized relations among the Clave, Downworld, and the mundane world, and also protects the rights of Downworlders so that they may not be maltreated by Shadowhunters.

It is the Covenant also that guarantees that the Shadow World remains shadowed from the mundane world. Nephilim are sworn by Covenant never to reveal the truth of the world to a mundane, unless such a revelation cannot in any way be avoided. All Downworlders who have signed the Accords agree to the same. Demons are the great unpredictable force in keeping the Shadow World secret, but so far demons have decided that secrecy is best for them as well.

This description makes the Covenant sound simple, but its fine print is more or less the entire legal system of the Shadowhunters, specifying not only the criminal code that the Nephilim and various Downworlder communities have agreed to abide by, but also how that criminal code may be prosecuted, how trials may be run, and so on. This means both Shadowhunters and Downworlders may refer to the Covenant to claim some specific right. For instance, Shadowhunters may swear upon the Covenant to keep information confidential that has been shared with them in an investigation.

The Covenant long precedes the Accords; the Accords can be seen as a kind of Bill of Rights, amendments to the Covenant that are agreed to be taken as the law of the land by all of the Shadow World.


1. What do you notice about the kinds of words that are used to make up Shadowhunter names? What do they have in common? What might this say about the Shadowhunters’ identity and what family names are supposed to represent?


It’s not your book, Simon.

You don’t need discussion questions either, CLARY HORSEPHONE.

2. Do you know who your local Council member is? Do you know who runs your local Institutes? Find out!

Yes. Yes. Okay. WHO

That’s not what it says!


3. Try: Introducing yourself to a Silent Brother! Their appearance may be intimidating, but you will find them to be friendly and patient. (Note: Do not try to introduce yourself to an Iron Sister at this time.)



Shadowhunters do not use firearms, and typically we fight in close quarters. We also usually fight in short, improvised confrontations rather than in planned battles. As such, the basic armaments of the Shadowhunters are those hand-to-hand weapons that humans have used for thousands of years. Each of these come in endless variations, and you will need to tune your training to the specifics of your locale. Here we endeavor to lay out the categories of weapons and briefly discuss their pros and cons.

You should plan to quickly achieve a basic competence in each of these categories. Remember that demons are infinite in type and variety; a Shadowhunter never knows when she might face a foe against whom her preferred weapons are totally useless. You should, however, also give thought to what kind of weapon you might choose to specialize in. Some feel called to the longsword, while others will have a natural gift with a bow and arrow. Finding the intersection of your interest and your talent is a major goal of your early training.

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Any decently stocked Institute should have on hand a selection of all of the weapons mentioned here, in addition to other basic useful combat tools such as: binding wire of silver, gold, and/or electrum; wooden stakes in oak and ash; amulets of protection; assorted holy symbols for major world religions; and basic magic implements (chalk, iron filings, small vial of animal blood, etc.). A truly well-stocked large Institute might add to that list such specialty items as lead swords, holy trumpets, bone staves, etc., depending on location.

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Did you know?

Shadowhunter weapons are Marked with runes. While only seraph blades can cause permanent harm to demons, angelic Marks on other weapons will at least slow a demon’s recovery from a wound. Without these Marks, demons easily shrug off the effects of our physical weapons.


Swords are long hilted blades used to wound both by piercing and by slashing. Variants range from light and flexible blades wielded in one hand, such as the rapier, to heavy blades such as the Scottish claymore that require two hands to wield and whose blades may well be taller than a person. And more or less all possible stages in between are represented. Generally Shadowhunters have a preference for speed and agility in fighting, and so most who prefer swords specialize in one of the smaller one-handed versions. There are, of course, exceptions. Note that if you have never wielded a sword before, you may be surprised by how quickly your arm will grow tired, even when using a light blade. If you have never used a sword before, you can get an early start on training by practicing simply holding a sword out in front of your body, parallel to the ground, for a length of time. You will be ready to start actual combat training when you can keep the sword steady for thirty minutes.


These smaller blades are less tiring to hold, and frequently two are wielded at the same time. The trade-off is, of course, that they have a shorter reach than a sword, requiring you to be closer to your foe. They are also far easier to conceal than a sword. Seraph blades are typically wielded using techniques associated with dagger fighting, so you will want to grow proficient with these weapons no matter what. Thank you, Codex, because I didn’t know what a knife was.

You may also learn to throw knives and daggers, but it’s a very difficult skill to pick up, and daggers are usually more difficult and expensive to create than arrows, considering that you may lose them after a single use. Still, many Shadowhunters favor the throwing skill for its showy nature.

Haha Jace Throws Knives because of his showy nature.

We were all 14 once. You’d have learned it too if you could have.

Touche’, whatever your last name is.


Those who do not seek subtlety in their combat may wish to consider specializing in a weapon in these categories, whereby the enemy is simply bludgeoned with a heavy block of metal, possibly sharpened. You will come across few creatures that cannot be successfully defeated by the application of sufficient blunt trauma. The main advantage of these weapons is that, while one can learn finesse in wielding them, they tend to be effective even when that finesse is lacking. All the wielder requires is brute strength and room to swing. oh please please please Clary.

Tiny girl with a gigantic hammer! so anime!

In real life tiny girl with gigantic hammer has gigantic forearms.

The main disadvantages of these weapons are that, for one, they can be difficult to conceal, and for another, they depend on the enemy’s skin being less strong than the material of the weapon, which is usually true of Downworlders but may often be untrue of demons.

Flails and morning-stars, in which the aforementioned heavy chunk of metal is attached to the handle by a chain and thus can be swung around to build up more momentum, add more force to your blows in exchange for a higher risk of accidentally walloping yourself or the person standing next to you.


There are almost as many variations on these as there have been human armies in history, but they all have the same basic structure: a sharp blade at the end of a long sturdy stick. Traditionally these have been used in mundane warfare to give a fighter a longer reach than normal—which can be useful when fighting a foe on horseback (or giant lizard-back, in the case of some demons), a demon covered in tentacles, a demon with obscenely long arms, and so on. Today, however, fighting from horseback is obsolescent, and the annoyance of carrying a sharp six-foot-long pole around is rarely worth the trouble. You are most likely to see these carried by Shadowhunter guards as ceremonial weapons; you are also likely to find that these guards have other weapons on their person that they would wield instead in case of action.


These are the definitive Shadowhunter weapons for long-range fighting. They are lightweight and easy to carry, and you can bring a large number of arrows with you with little trouble. Often Shadowhunters will carry arrows with several different arrowhead materials, useful for fighting different kinds of creatures. (We recommended color-coding the feathers for ease in identification.)

Like sword fighting, archery is a complex and difficult skill, and you will need to train diligently to be able to use it in a real-life scenario. Shadowhunters almost never fire arrows from an entrenched stable position, like someone defending a castle from a siege. Expect to have to arm, aim, and fire your bow while in the middle of total chaos. Do not expect your archery instructor to let you take a bow with you into combat until you have demonstrated some serious skill.


The Nephilim are trained in the use of weapons, and our weapons are a vital part of our combat methods. It is important to always remember, however, that a Shadowhunter without fighting weapons is not helpless. The fight against demons is a desperate one, and weapons can be improvised from the environment—a tree branch, an andiron, a handful of pebbles thrown in the face of a foe. Then too the Shadowhunter should always remember that her own body is a weapon. She has been trained to be faster and stronger than mundanes, and in the panic of battle should remember her strength and make use of it. A weapon does not win a battle; the Nephilim wielding the weapon does.

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There are, of course, as many nonstandard and exotic weapons as there are human cultures, and you may find that your local Nephilim have some combat specialties outside the common weapon types. These may include whips, sword canes, obscure weapons of martial arts traditions, household objects modified to double as blades, and so on. These rarer “specialty” weapons are not forbidden or discouraged from use. Indeed, a Shadowhunter is likely to be more effective with a weapon toward which they feel an affinity than with one forced into their hand by the dictates of training protocols.

Two specific exotic weapons are worthy of note here, one angelic, one demonic.

The aegis is a dagger that has been seethed and tempered in angel blood. They are incredibly rare, as one would imagine, since angel blood is not easily come by. There are only a small number of these in the hands of the Shadowhunters, and they are kept by the Iron Sisters and are not permitted to reside in an Institute. They are available for requisition in the armory, but the requestor should be prepared with a very good reason for the request. The Iron Sisters are not usually pleased to give them out.